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Want more women in leadership roles? Want to eliminate the gender pay gap? A recent column by HR Dive's senior editor Kate Tornone offers a counter-intuitive answer to both problems: Offer paid paternity leave. Tornone makes an interesting case for extending leave to fathers as well as mothers when a child is born. There's an unintended consequence if companies only offer maternity leave, she writes: “It's quite the cycle that we've created: offer or support only maternity leave; start to notice that women are the only ones out on leave; and then fail to hire or promote women because … they're just going to take maternity leave. It's enough to make this working mom's head explode.” Tornone cites research showing that offering paternity leave tends to encourage men to stay involved in their child's care beyond the leave period. “That means that when their middle schooler is sick, it doesn't always fall to moms to call out,” Tornone writes. “They take turns, burdening each employer or team equally, and chipping away at employers' fear, assumption and sometimes self-fulfilled prophecy that women might be present for fewer hours because of their responsibilities at home.” Citing Sweden as an example, she concludes: “[W]omen's salaries don't suffer as much when their male partners take time off.”
Would giving dads paid paternity leave improve gender diversity in leadership positions and encourage equal pay for women?
Comments

08/22/18 AT 04:01 PM
The FMLA offers father's unpaid leave as well as the mother for the birth of a child. There is no paid maternity leave so why provide paid paternity leave!

08/22/18 AT 01:32 PM
I think it would. And it would definitely be more fair to all parties —moms, dads, kids and employers. It's a good thing for dads to be involved in their kids' lives, right from the beginning and, increasingly, many are. This change will make that easier and, hopefully, help promote gender diversity and more equal pay at the same time.

08/22/18 AT 01:24 PM
Truly a "yes and no" answer as you are asking two questions. I believe it will help with the issue of leadership roles but will not do anything to help the gender gap in pay. I have often heard that I didn't make the same as a male counterpart because the man had a family to support. It doesn't seem to matter if the woman is the major bread winner in the family as they do not consider this fact or even ask. This will help women in leadership roles as they cannot cite that a woman might be out more if the man can take paternity leave as well.

08/22/18 AT 01:12 PM
Perhaps paternity leave would be one piece, but certainly not sufficient for gender equality. The burden of child rearing and household chores often fall to women. It's a cultural mindset that is slow to change despite technological advances in the home and greater family dependence on women's incomes.

08/22/18 AT 12:24 PM
Even if it didn't, there are still many reasons why it would be a good thing!

08/22/18 AT 12:14 PM
Of course.

08/22/18 AT 12:08 PM
Considering women don't get paid maternity leave, I don't see how that would improve equal pay for women.

08/22/18 AT 12:08 PM
Only if the men are actually allowed and encouraged to take the time. Peer pressure and prevailing male stereotypes make it hard to break the patterns of patriarchy.
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